The Nokomis baseball team ended the regular season on a high note on Monday, May 31, as they defeated Springfield Lutheran 9-3 in their final regular season game.
The game was closer than the final score indicated, with Nokomis scoring five runs in the top of the seventh to blow a one-run contest wide open.
Prior to the offensive surge, the two teams went back and forth, with Nokomis leading 1-0 and 3-1, only to have Lutheran come back and tie the game in both instances. The Redskins scored first, with Brenton Lyons driving a double to center field that allowed Elijah Aumann to score after the sophomore outfielder walked in the at-bat before Lyons.
Another RBI double, this time by Lutheran’s Josh Mauney, tied the score at 1-1, but Nokomis would pick up two more runs in the third after a scoreless second inning.
Benny Clavin and Aumann drew a pair of walks to start the third, but Clavin was caught stealing and a pop out by Lyons left just Aumann on second with two outs in the inning. Landon Engelman would keep the frame alive with a single that plated Aumann and back-to-back walks by Cooper Bertolino and Matthew Ulrici loaded the bases briefly, before Engelman scored on a passed ball.
Up 3-1, Nokomis starter Benny Clavin cruised through the bottom of the third and worked around two singles in the fourth to finish his time on the mound. Austin Thornton would come to the mound in the fifth and ran into some early trouble as a solo home run by Aaron Shipman and an RBI single by Andrews tied the game at 3-3.
Again, Nokomis would retake the lead as Ryan Eisenbarth reached on an error, Hunter Broers singled and Eisenbarth scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Thornton. The Redskins would load the bases with one out after Eisenbarth scored, but Lutheran reliever Kohl McAfee got out of the inning without further damage.
He wouldn’t be as fortunate in the next inning, however, after Thornton sat the Crusaders down in order in the bottom of the sixth. After getting the first two outs, Nokomis pounded McAfee for five runs on five singles, a walk and an error.
Ryan Eisenbarth, Hunter Broers, Austin Thornton, Benny Clavin and Brenton Lyons all had base hits in the inning, which helped the Nokomis lead balloon from 4-3 to 9-3 in the blink of an eye.
After the rocky start, Thornton was close to perfect in his final two innings on the mound as he retired the side on just 11 pitches in the bottom of the seventh to preserve the win.
Thornton would finish the game with two strikeouts, three hits allowed and two walks in three innings, a solid compliment after Clavin allowed one run on four hits with five strikeouts.
Nokomis would outhit the Crusaders 10-7, with Hunter Broers going 3-for-4, Austin Thornton going 2-for-4 and Brenton Lyons going 2-for-5. Both Thornton and Lyons also had two RBIs in the win, which improved Nokomis’ record to 6-11 on the season.
Nokomis will look to carry the momentum of Monday’s win into the postseason, where they will kick things off on Friday, June 4, at Meridian High School in Macon on Friday, June 4, at 4:30 p.m.
The winner of that game moves on to the regional championship against the winner of the other semifinal between Greenfield-Northwestern and Wednesday’s winner of the White Hall North Greene/Hardin Calhoun game.
May 31 at Springfield
Nokomis 102 001 5 9 10 0
Lutheran 100 020 0 3 7 4
Nokomis IP R ER H K BB
Clavin 4 1 1 4 5 0
Thornton 3 2 2 3 2 2
*Clavin 1 HBP
Lutheran IP R ER H K BB
Mauney 1.2 1 1 1 3 1
Andrews 1.1 2 1 2 0 4
Shipman 2 0 0 1 0 0
McAfee 2 6 4 6 2 3
Multiple Hits: Nokomis - Hunter Broers 3-4, Austin Thornton 2-4, Brenton Lyons 2-5; Lutheran - Jared Andrews 2-3. 2B: Nokomis - Brenton Lyons 1; Lutheran - Josh Mauney 1. HR: Lutheran - Aaron Shipman 1. Runs: Nokomis - Elijah Aumann 3, Ryan Eisenbarth 2, Benny Clavin 1, Landon Engelman 1, Hunter Broers 1, Austin Thornton 1. RBI: Nokomis - Brenton Lyons 2, Austin Thornton 2, Benny Clavin 1, Landon Engelman 1.
Record: Nokomis (6-11); Lutheran (2-16-1).